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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of stupidity.

A pedal voice—“…stupid, stupid, stupid…”—that had begun sometime in unremembered childhood whenever he’d been asked questions he couldn’t answer, that had continued whenever he’d been asked questions he couldn’t answer, that had continued whenever he’d been asked questions he’d had to answer “no,” and that had finally come whenever he’d been asked any questions at all or even had to ask them, suddenly became audible. A tiny voice, still it had insisted as relentlessly (and as unobtrusively) as his own heartbeat, at least since the man in a circular desk had told him to say, ”Yes.”

But the reason he heard it at all, now, was because another voice, which felt and sounded and settled in his mind as if it were his own (but had to have come from somewhere else), suddenly took that small voice up and declared: “…stupid,” on the beat, and then went on, off the beat and overwhelming it: “stupidity: a process, not a state. A human being takes in far more information than he or she can put out. ‘Stupidity’ is a process or strategy by which a human, in response to social denigration of the information she or he puts out, commits him- or herself to taking in no more information than she or he can put out. (Not to be confused with ignorance, or lack of data.) Since such a situation is impossible to achieve because of the nature of mind/perception itself in its relation to the functioning body, a continuing downward spiral of functionality and/or information dissemination results,” and he understood why! “The process, however, can be reversed,” the voice continued, “at any time…”

Samuel R. Delany

—posted 27 days ago


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